Friday, July 15, 2011

Carbon Footprint for Google Maps

Good or bad? Check your CO2 car emissions at google maps.

(Whatever plans you have, whenever you need, wherever you go, the best way to reduce emissions is always to drive nowhere!)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Carfree in Italy

A calm street, Siena

My family (father, his wife and my elder brother) went to Rome with the train. It took us five days to travel there with three stops in Germany and one in Switzerland. Home "only" 32 hours. Here is some of the pictures I made. Another post will come from Cinque terre, five small cities along the Italian coast, completly carfree. See also the post these cars, to see some links to carfree cities and places.

Pictures here are from Siena, Rome, Genova. Pisa and Florence. All cities with a lot of cars but also a lot of limitations. However, in all of the cities some streets where very busy while others where almost empty. Normal was also very small cars and scooters and they took care of walking people.

 Rome. Simple construction makes it easy to use the full street when no cars and moving when they are on their way.

Piazza del Campo, Siena

Escalator from the station which had a shopping center in several layers in the hill slide, Siena

The long long escalator, Siena

A small path down the hill of Gianicolo, just for pedestrians in Rome

No entry for cars, Rome

Only scooters allowed, Rome

Beautiful stairs up to the hill Gianicolo, Rome

 Along the Tiber river, not the nicest path, but a way to walk from the traffic, Rome

In Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome which is of course carfree because it is a building. But I think this picture tells us something about the feeling of a clean and calm place.

Special arrangements to hinder cars to go here, Genova

 Pedestrian street, Pisa

Piazza dei Cavalieri is where the leaning tower stands. Here is space for the tourist to walk, Pisa

Carfree at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore at Piazza del Duomo, Florence

Knowledge of ecology mixed with the ability to imagine

Michael Pollan is the author of The omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals, he also wrote the book The botany of desire. Both books discussion and explain the relationship between man and traditional compare to industrial farming. In the TED video above, he trying to explain the relations (the ecology) between different speices, including our own. Starting at time 07.25;
"-As soon as you start seeing things from the plant’s point of view or the animal’s point of view, you realize that the real literary conceit is that. Is this — the idea that nature is opposed to culture. The idea that — that consciousness is everything. And that’s another very important thing it does. Looking at the world from other species’ points of view is a cure for the disease of human self-importance. You suddenly realize that consciousness — which we value and we consider the — you know, the crown of — the crowning achievement of nature — human consciousness — is really just another set of tools for getting along in the world. And it’s kind of natural that we would think it was the best tool. But you know, as — there’s a comedian who said, “Well, who’s telling me that consciousness is so good and so important? Well, consciousness.” 

The best part in this TED is the example of the farm starting at 10.43 in the video and the text below at 14.45:
"-But look at it from the point of view of the grass, now. What happens to the grass when you do this? When a ruminant grazes grass, the grass is cut from this high to this height. And it immediately does something very interesting. Any one of you who gardens knows that there is something called the root-shoot ratio. And plants need to keep the root mass in some rough balance with the leaf mass to be happy. So when they lose a lot of leaf mass, they shed roots. They kind of cauterize them. And the roots die. And the species in the soil go to work, basically chewing through those roots, decomposing them. The earthworms, the fungi, the bacteria. And the result is new soil. This is how soil is created. It’s created from the bottom up. This is how the prairies were built: the relationship between bison and grasses.

And what I realized when I understood this — and if you ask Joel Salatin what he is, he’ll tell you he’s not a chicken farmer, he’s not a sheep farmer, he’s not a cattle rancher: he’s a grass farmer, because grass is really the keystone species of such a system — is that, if you think about it, this completely contradicts the tragic idea of nature we hold in our heads, which is that, for us to get what we want, nature is diminished. More for us, less for nature. Here, all this food comes off the farm, and at the end of the season there is actually more soil, more fertility and more biodiversity.

It’s a remarkably hopeful thing to do. There are a lot of farmers doing this today. This is well beyond organic agriculture, which is still a Cartesian system more or less. And what it tells you is that if you begin to take account of other species, take account of the soil, that even with — with nothing more than this perspectival idea — because there is no technology involved here except for those fences, which could be — you know, they’re so cheap, they could be all over Africa in no time — that you can — that we can take the food that we need from the Earth, and actually heal the Earth in the process".

Like couchsurfing but airbnb

We know couchsurfing, stayning some nights at some other peoples bed or sofa. All runned from the sight,, where you can find your host who describes the place with pictures and feedback from other couchsurfers. The same about you; you get some comments about you living in the place which your host can read before she or he desides to have you over. All this is for free. Now comes something else, airbnb, is like couchsurfing but you pay a little. Same idea but better? Take a look at

With new cellphones and systems of feedback and paying this is now possible. Getting to know the culture, getting to know new people, making friendship is known from couchsurfing but now too, helping a little with rent and so on. Might this even be better than the free couchsurfing?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The hyenas at Stureplan

"Hyenorna vid Stureplan", provocative street art in the center of the capital city Stockholm of Sweden. The hyenas whould represent the young people who use to party in the area, so called brats, young adults with rich parents, who tend to be a bit like hyenas- proud, insolent and grabbing from others (at least their own parents and some think they are extremly lazy and spoiled). Picture above is from

My guess is that some people just think it's nice and fun art, even cute, with kids coming and pat them. I saw the story that the creators, when arranging, had the municipality working clothes, set up roadblock and had the right tools to put them into the ground. And the sign looks like an ordinary information sign in a zoo, but when look closer, it's not. Read it in Swedish here and in English here. Brilliant work for the curious observer, which questioning in one hand, the rich young peoples behavior in that area, but in the other, rise the discussion about what is nice art and what's not and the biggest qustion is perhaps the right to use the city's spaceroom for art and/or opinions and views. Some angry voices has already been heard, including Marten Castenfors, director at Liljevalchs Gallery and head of Stockholm's public decoration. He says;- They are not that funny and it's pretty bad finish on them too. Ambitious art attack, but from my perspective, dubious

However a good mind reminder I think. Let's see how long they can stay at the square.

LEED for Neighborhood Development

New guide to a sustainable neighborhood:  A Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development: How to Tell if Development is Smart and Green

[pic from Italy, some trees makes the road much more walkable as the temperature is quite high during the summer]

- Link tip thanks to April at Food Coalition of Central Indiana FCCI